The New York Knicks have just announced the roster they will be taking to Las Vegas for the Summer League which takes place from July 11-21. Leading the roster is the well known and all-rookie first team selection Tim Hardaway Jr.,but aside from him, the Knicks will have a great opportunity to test a lot of unproven raw talent.
Cole Aldrich is a pleasant surprise on the list, considering he is a free agent. Aldrich had a great run at the end of last season, giving hope to president Phil Jackson that the center position is not going to be a problem going forward. The Knicks traded Tyson Chandler but got in return the defensive Samuel Dalembert, making Aldrich the last piece needed for good depth at the position. It goes without saying that adding Pau Gasol would be the ideal situation, but even without him the team is in good hands. Also going to Vegas are centers Jordan Henriquez and Jordan Vandenberg, both rookies who will need to showcase their skills in order to make the roster. Dalembert, Aldrich and Stoudemire seem to be the go-to guys for the position.
The second surprise is Jeremy Tyler, the versatile forward who played not-so-valuable minutes last season but has shown a lot of progress and potential. The 6-foot-9 PF is a defensive force, which is something that Jackson pretty much demands of all his players. He’s got a non-guaranteed contract, so playing well in Vegas could mean do or die for him.
As for guards, there is Shane Larkin, the PG traded from the Dallas Mavericks who is said to be full of potential, even though he couldn’t show any of it last season because of an injury. He is only 5-foot-11, so his skills better surpass this handicap if he wants to remain a Knick. Brandon Triche is another player the team must pay close attention to. A big guard which Jackson loves, he’s got the skills to make it to the NBA. He wasn’t drafted in 2013 and ended up playing in Italy this past season, but a good performance could bring him to the NBA once and for all.
Shannon Brown, the 6-foot-4 guard who signed with the team late last season, is also playing, along with the two 2014 NBA Draft selections Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo. Langston Galloway, Zane Johnson, Cameron Moore and Will Sheehey complete the 14-man roster. They all have the opportunity to surprise the Knick’s coaching staff, but of all of those, only Early, Antetokounmpo and Brown will probably be considered for the team.
Who knows, though? Since Jackson joined the franchise there’ve been a lot of pleasant surprises, so we might even see one of these youngsters make the final cut. The point is the Knicks are very well served as far as young potential is concerned, and that is a must for a franchise that aims for long-term success.